What's it worth to ya'???????

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Feb 4th, 2004, 05:01 PM
  #1
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What's it worth to ya'???????

Of course I have too much time on my hands but I am really struggling with whether or not I should go to Tanzania this coming June. For sure I must go to Italy for 12 nights and the plan right now is to go to Prague and Budapest beforehand...but, it is a bitter pill to swallow, not going to Africa when I am a mere 9 hours away!

If I were to go to Prague and Budapest, for four nights each, staying at a couple great places available on Luxury Link, I would likely only add about $2,500 including all ground and air transfers.

If I want to FORCE the issue and go to Tanzania, I will only be able to visit Tarangire for two nights, Ngorongoro Crater for two nights and the Western Serengeti for four nights. I will not have a chance to see Lake Manyara, Zanzibar or Selous like I would if I were to do an exclusive trip to Tanzania. Also, by the time I add it all up, it would cost me a minimum of $7,500 to go to Tanzania, or an extra $5,000 over what Prague/Budapest would cost.

I am not rich but if I really wanted to do this, I could make it happen. It would be a pity not to see Lake Manyara, Zanzibar and the Selous, but at least it would allow me to visit Botswana in 2005.

What would you do??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Feb 5th, 2004, 12:24 AM
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If I could afford it money wise and time wise (without overly depleting future savings/ pensions) I'd do it.

Hey have you seen my thread on the Mara trip?
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Feb 5th, 2004, 01:05 AM
  #3
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Kavey,

Yes, I read about your great fortune!

Forgive me for being self-absorbed and not contributing earlier. I believe you will have two trips to Africa within a two month period, if I read it correctly! Congratulations.

I am going crazy trying to find frequent flier flights at least for part of the trip. I actually found a FF flight that would take me all the way from LAX-Kiliminjaro but it had a crazy pricetag of 280,000 miles PER PERSON!!! If I had 560,000 miles, I may actually consider it if it included a stopover in Europe and was business class.

More crazy are the FF flights I have found on Continental just to Europe at 200,000 FF miles per person for Business Class, or 100,000 FF miles per person for economy.

After thinking about it a little more, I don't really think that it would be $5,000 more than Europe. I know that my wife and I are a lot more likely to do some heavy shopping in Prague and Budapest than in the Serengeti! Plus, most meals/drinks are included in the price for Tanzania while it wouldn't be difficult to spend $100+ USD per day on meals and drinks.

Perhaps the Tanzania option would only be $2,500 more??? I would just hate to get crushed by a piano falling out of the sky and NOT have visited Tanzania. I have already been to Budapest, and while Prague seems nice, it doesn't tickle my fancy the same way as Tanzania.

I already received a price quote of $2,750pp from one local Arusha operator and that is exactly where I expected the number to be. And again, that is for two nights at Tarangire (Kikoti), two nights at Ngorongoro Crater (Serena, which actually scores higher in Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List than the Crater Lodge) and four nights in the Western Serengeti at Kirawira, along with ground transfers and an air transfer from the Western Serengeti back to Kiliminjaro.

I can get the air from Europe for about $1,000 pp to Kiliminjaro, making it exactly the $7,500 ($3,750 pp) that I estimated earlier.

Time to sign up to www.awardplanner and fork over my $100 USD to let them try and figure out the puzzle of getting reasonably priced FF seats!

And the sleepless nights begin...

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Feb 5th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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Roccco, with all do respect I think you are trying too hard and too much. Tanzania is such wonderful place and it needs more attention than just visiting after Italy, Prague, Budapest, marathon, whatever. You are still young and have lots of time and enough money so one day when your schedule is less crowded you should go to visit Tanzania. Africa will be waiting for you when you are redy and have more time to devote to Tanzania. Focus on Italy, Prague, Budapest. Ah! shopping in Italy!!!!!!!! All these places have so much to offer. Spend more time than four nights in Prague and Budapest. Send some money my way if you don't know what to do with it.
I agree "It would be a pity not to see Lake Manyara, Zanzibar and the Selous."
Enjoy Europe
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Feb 5th, 2004, 04:22 AM
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Oh lordy, no, sorry I wasn't looking for you to congratulate me (though it's much appreciated), I just meant that I thought the festival itself might be of interest to you in terms of coming along!!!



If you come to London, let me know - we're meeting for coffee or somethin'!!
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Feb 5th, 2004, 05:52 AM
  #6
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Roccco - We should all have such decisions to make. And though I recall some months back suggesting that you do your trips and STD do hers - STD's respose was "we don't do separate vacations in this family." So much for that idea.

Kavey's suggestion, though, that you join her and her dad on their adventure would at least get you to Kenya - certainly not a bad alternative to Tanzania and a very good price from the UK.

But you'll be miserable one way or another, I can just feel it. So you will, either, be miserable on the trip to Prague & Budapest and forego your ideal trip to Tanzania including all the stops you want - or STD will be miserable if you pass on Prague & Budapest and if she's miserable, so too will you.

So just suck it in for now and hold Tanzania for when you do the Durban Marathon. The two of you have got many years of travel ahead, and while this one isn't working out the way you would like - in a relationship it's still give-n-take - one for you, one for me. Tanzania will still be there - it's not going anywhere.

Hey, on our first trip to Kenya, I wanted to add on The Seychelles - my partner didn't want to (not enough time, just another beach - whatever reason), so it was a no-go. I survived. Then two-years later, traveling with a friend, we did a few days in Kenya, then onto Tanzania and ending up in The Seychelles.

If you do Europe and the cruise with a smile and a positive attitude, you may be surprised how well that will be received; then Africa will be all yours.
 
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Feb 5th, 2004, 07:55 AM
  #7
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Thanks. I will definitely consider all the sound advice.

FYI, Tanzania Serengeti Adventures is again the lowest price with a price of $2,550 per person, a $200 savings pp over a couple other quotes.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Even if only a week, a short trip to Tanzania, especially the Crater and Serengeti, is highly worth it. You need not see all of Tanzania on one trip. I have so far only made one trip to Tanzania (the northern parks), but I do expect to return, and will visit Zanzibar/Selous/Ruaha/Gombe on a second trip. You'll have a great week, and while I have also been to Prague, which is one of Europe's most beautiful and interesting cities, its not the same as being in the Serengeti, in my opinion, the world's best national park. Go already -- it sounds as if you won't be satisfied if you don't.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Rocco,
I understand exactly why you'd want to add Africa on to your trip to Europe. I do exactly the same thing and that's how we ended up with a nine week honeymoon and going to Vienna, Armenia and Iran last year when we weren't meant to be going anywhere.

At Christmas we were meant to just go to England to visit my family and I added Prague and Venice. Personally I've never regretted adding anywhere extra...it's just a question of time, energy, enthusiasm and money.

I think it's easier for Europeans to say why go somewhere for a week because they have so much more vacation time and compared to the West coast are more centrally located for a variety of destinations that interest me.

Why not drop Prague and or Budapest? In December we stayed at the Riverside in Prague through Luxury Link...review on the Europe board...We certainly liked Prague very much but my worry for you is that in June it will be packed with tourists. Everyone we met there told us that in the summer you barely need to walk as the crowds will just pull you down the street.

In comparision the game viewing in Southern Africa is great at that time of year, the rates are reasonable and it's not too crowded.

In terms of what you may spend shopping in Prague I wouldn't worry too much. Food even in the best places is generally very reasonable by West coast standards...Modern glass is the one thing I felt we could have spent serious money on but there was nothing I couldn't live without.

One final thought... I can't believe the rates you're getting on award seats...we flew SFO-Vienna_Yerevan (Armenia) last year business class with Star Alliance for 80,000 miles each! I suppose it's the difference between the saver and the non saver award?

I've found United's Milage Plus to be great a finding something but you just have to find the right agent as I'm sure you know.

What about considering buying a flight into Europe and then taking an award ticket to your African destination? This may be easier as it's often the flights into and out of Europe in the summer that are so hard to schedule.

Hope that helps...


PS We loved Ca'Pisani one of Luxury Link's hotels in Venice.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Roccco: As much as I want you to go to Tanzania, I think doing Italy, Prague and Budapest beforehand will not get you in that "safari" mindset. I desparately want you to go to Selous, so, out of pure selfishness on MY part, I would suggest you wait to visit Tanzania until you can thoroughly enjoy it. Besides, having to pack for all those place, you may not meet the luggage weight limit for your internal Tanzania flights!!! Wait to enjoy it and completely immerse yourself in the magic of Tanzania.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 05:45 PM
  #11
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Well...I got an air quote of $1,800 pp for LAX-London-Rome-London-Nairobi-Kiliminjaro-London-LAX. The price is right but I get tired just LOOKING at it! If that is the most economical way to get to Tanzania, it definitely has me rethinking Tanzania and instead considering Botswana or Zambia.

The problem with Botswana is that I would have to go all the way down to Johannesburg both on the way and on the way back, making it an excruciating flight home to LAX.

Something that actually looks pretty attractive right now is, do I dare say it...South Luangwa! There is a direct flight from London-Lusaka on the evening of June 09th, returning on the morning of June 19th. I would have to spend my final night of June 18th in Lusaka, but I would have eight nights in South Luangwa or perhaps between South Luangwa and Livingstone or the Lower Zambezi.

The attractive part about this is that I KNOW that I can stay for no more than about $150 per person per night at Kafunta or Kaingo and even if I wanted to splurge to stay at the finest looking lodge in South Luangwa, it would only cost $300 per person per night at Puku Ridge, the new Star Of Africa lodge.

I will certainly not have the opportunity to have any diva-like animals posing for the camera as I would likely have in parts of Tanzania and especially as they have in the Kruger/Sabi Sand, but I would have Peace On Earth by being in the South Luangwa for a full week. The flight is $900 pp from London. With the air from London, Zambian air transfers, eight nights of safari and one night in Lusaka, I doubt that it would cost more than about $2,750 per person.

Lastly, although it may not go over well with a spouse that lived through a Zanu-PF demonstration in Victoria Falls a couple years ago after Bobby Mugabe re-elected himself (we were surrounded by a few hundred armed men), www.go2africa.com has a great looking package to Zimbabwe with two nights in Victoria Falls at Ilala Lodge, three nights in Hwange at Makalolo Plains, and three nights in Lake Kariba at Matusadona Water Wilderness aboard their "floating chalets." While Ilala Lodge is a bit disappointing (perhaps I can upgrade to Matetsi?), the other two properties are both Wilderness Safari lodges and look great. The package is on special for $1,875 per person and includes air transfers between lodges. That averages out to less than $235 per person per night including flights. If I could fly directly into Harare and then onto Victoria Falls, it would be worth it, but not if I had to fly back to Johannesburg.

What a big mess! Despite the disadvantage of flying into Johannesburg, I have to say that Botswana sounds like a nice alternative. I really think that I can get a pretty good snapshot of Botswana in 9 nights, while I don't think the same can be said about Tanzania.

Anyway, it all depends on what the agents come back to me with and whether or not I can find a frequent flier seat to any of these destinations. It seems like a strong possibility that if I did find a FF seat that I would be able to have a stopover in Europe, for the 12 night Italy portion of the trip. Free air would likely save me close to $4,000 USD and possibly have me flying business class the whole way. If I were to save $4,000 USD and have business class seats, I think my better half would not complain about going to Afghanistan, yet less anyplace in Africa that she may otherwise not be too happy about (this marking the third consecutive year of visiting Africa).

Anyway, again...what a mess!
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Feb 15th, 2004, 02:50 AM
  #12
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Just wanted to see how my current trip was born and I found it with the previous post. I just find it wondrous how when we put our minds towards something, no matter if it is a trip 12,000 miles away, or any other endeavour, how we, as not only humans, but more specifically as FODORITES, surely a more highly evolved form of human, can just make it happen!
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Feb 15th, 2004, 04:39 AM
  #13
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No Rocco, its not US, its YOU. Only you are able to do the unbelievable. (Like get ME to my beloved Botswana at Bestwesta prices.) Only YOU! I understand that I am no longer to THANK you, but here's a hug.
 
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Feb 15th, 2004, 05:42 AM
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Liz,

Stop already, before you get us both in trouble!

I can only imagine the sights and sounds that await me shortly in Zambia! I have never dedicated more than 8 nights to safari, and always a portion of it has been, as Thit Cho so eloquently described it, in the drive through zoo known as the Sabi-Sand. While I will not be able to direct the animals on which poses I want them to strike this time around (without the Sabi Sand), I will be able to really enjoy 11 nights of solitude, first in the Lower Zambezi and then in South Luangwa.

I can hardly wait to hear about how YOUR trip goes! For sure, Botswana is next on the agenda, even if that is not until 2006. I am VERY VERY curious to see how you like your trip in mid-March, as I am not opposed to running the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (35 miles but NINETEEN miles less agony than Comrades) on April 15, 2006 (always the day before Easter), followed by a trip to Botswana at low season prices.

Mombo is ONLY $700 pp per night sharing in low season.

Kwando Lagoon is only $300 pp per night in low season.

Duba Plains is only $400 pp per night in low season.

Phinda Forest is only $400 pp per night in low season (April is considered part of their low season)

I figure the ground package and air transfers between Botswana game lodges will probably cost:

Mombo (3 nights): $2100 pp sharing
Duba Plains (3 nts): $1200 pp sharing
Kwando Lagoon (3 nts): $900 pp sharing
Phinda Forest (3 nts): $1200 pp sharing
12 Apostles Hotel (4 nts): $600 pps
Grace Hotel, Joburg (1 nt): $150 pps
Botswana intercamp transfers: $350 pps

With free airfare between LAX-CPT-Durban?-JNB-Maun-JNB-LAX, thanks to advanced planning and frequent flier miles, I am looking at an 17 night trip for only $6,400 pp, or not much more than I would have paid for my initial trip to South Africa/Victoria Falls in 2002 which wa a shorter trip and with only 6 nights on safari (Singita and Matetsi Water Lodge) and too many nights in Cape Town and Joburg (8 nights total).

Yeah, considering that I don't like training all that much, I do think the 35 mile Two Oceans Marathon may be the way to go. Plus, I would have to wait an extra two months to run the Comrades Marathon, thus delaying my return to Southern Africa by an extra 60 days. I cannot stand for that!
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Feb 15th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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LizFraizer--

Couldn't bite your tongue, could you?!!!!?
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Feb 15th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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That Botswana trip sounds really unbelievable. April is a much better month if you can swing it because it is still green in late March/early April and the mornings are not bitterly cold. When I looked today at the weather in Botswana, thunderstorms all week, I'm going to ask tomorrow when I talk to K&D the best time for us to go to avoid the cold mornings. When I checked our itinerary, we have until May 31st to start the trip. So we may wait for the rains to end. The flood arrives from Angola in early to mid May and that is an event that is selebrated all over Botswana at the camps. More tomorrow. Liz
 
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Feb 15th, 2004, 09:12 AM
  #17
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STD
Darn, you caught me. I didn't thank him and I thought this would be acceptable. Now I know. Thank you for being so nice about it.
No more, I promise. Its just that I couldn't have done it without him. You do understand just a little don't you? Liz
 
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Feb 15th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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Rocco, I've been away from this forum for a while. Had/having some medical problems that are partly caused by flying economy from JNB to LAX - will never do that again. Anyway, I got the thrill of reading your whole adventure from the point where you were just deciding if you could drop Prague and do Africa again. I could hear the excitement in your post and I knew your heart would not be happy if you did not visit Africa this trip. I'm thrilled to see it worked out so well, this trip looks fantastic. I first thought you said, "elephant and hippo *rides*. After our trip in 03 I said to my spouse every other trip is going to pale by comparison. I mean after you've been in the bush... But with other countries lined up first, it looks like we will not be back until 06. We tend to alternate - one year he picks it, the next year I pick it. However we discuss it and go for ones that both of us are interested in.

What is the additional fee for booking when using that award site you used? I know it is in addition to the yearly fee. As ff miles are something of a mystery to me, and we have a lot, I need to use them!

Susanlynne - how exciting about your luxurylink win!!! Kavey, not sure what this new change is in your trip, will try to figure it out from the older posts.

Clematis (who can't believe it will be until 06 that I return to Africa)
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Feb 15th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Clem, it's not a change to the big trip in May - it's another trip before that to the Masai Mara - it's a special festival where we are lectured and taught by people like Jonathan and Angie Scott, David Sheperd, Mark Carwardine...
Click on my name, search down my threads, and there's one called "Guess who's going to the mara?"
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Feb 15th, 2004, 05:06 PM
  #20
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Clematis,

I do not think that any additional fee will apply besides the $99.95 fee that I paid. It covers me for unlimited flight planning for a 1 year period.

Alternately, www.awardplanner.com also offers a one trip plan, for $29.95, but with the amounts of trips that I dream about, it didn't seem like the best auction.

They have been VERY helpful and although they allow five days between each correspondence, instead it is usually only an hour or two between each correspondences.

In the end I got, for 80,000 miles pp, Business Class air between London-Johannesburg-Lusaka-Johannesburg-London. I couldn't get Business class to London, so I am just buying my own economy air.
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